I’ve been reading a good amount of MLP fanfiction lately. Don’t fret, nothing I feel particularly inclined to review or commentate in a near future, but I did notice one thing I thought needed a mention.
Remember when I discussed character types and ‘lack of diversity’ in fictional characters a while back? No? It’s here, and here. A lot of ship fics in the FiMFiction.net are about romantic shenanigans between ponies of the same gender (I’ll just quickly address the fact I don’t read smut/clop fics usually, but I do like the comedy/fluffy ones, though; hey, don’t judge >.>) and A LOT of them actually do the ‘oh no, could I possibly be gay?’ and/or ‘what will others think!’ thing. And my immediate thought as a writer is “Why?”
I mean, there is nothing specified in canon on whether homosexuality is even viewed as something abnormal. This being a children’s show and all, it’s impossible for them to actually have an episode revolving around THAT, and honestly; seeing how that show shamelessly encourages shipping (it does! I swear it’s not ALL in my head >.>), I doubt it would be, so why assume that would be an issue? You can write outside the limitations of what real world society dictates. It doesn’t have to be an issue unless you say it is. 90% of fics I read so far have chosen to make it a point of conflict, of the remaining 10% at least half bring it up in passing at least once. It doesn’t determine whether the fic is good or bad, but it is starting to grate on me now.
It’s not a requirement for this to be brought up just because you’re writing a same-sex couple if the world doesn’t dictate it’d be frowned upon, or seen as different. Writers need to learn to think outside the limtations of real world society. Because when you have gay people/ponies in your story and you feel you NEED to point that out, what you’re really thinking about is how the real world people will judge your intentions if you don’t.
I don’t consider myself as someone who’s universally open-minded and there are many things about sexual orientation and gender identity that I know nothing of and will likely never understand; accepting something is one thing, understanding it from the outside is an entirely different thing. When it comes to writing, though, none of that crosses my mind. And I don’t feel I need to make this an issue in my worlds in order for my stories to reach people who have personally suffered those issues.
If I do think about it, if I did, I’d be identifying them by that one single aspect of them, assuming they couldn’t possibly relate to anything else non-pertaining to their sexuality.
That’d be like me complaining there aren’t enough color-blind or left-handed characters in fiction. When the truth is, maybe there are, but who cares?
That should be the the general consensus when it comes to homo/bi/pan/whateversexual characters in completely made up worlds; maybe they are, but who cares? There’s a giant monster destroying the village, let’s worry about that!
I do understand the fact that us here in the real world want to feel like we’re being somewhat represented in fiction. I do. Honest. And I would love to see more color-blind heroes in fiction; get on that people, but I also think that fictional worlds are where we get to explore how some aspects of life would be without certain preconceptions.
What if the norm was to just love whoever it is you love and that’s that? As far as I’m concerned, in Valcrest it is (don’t think me and the others openly discussed it, tbh). And I can safely say that in Stonewall it 100% is. It’s not going to be mentioned, it’s not going to be brought up, and whether or not I’ll be writing any same-sex couples in either story is something only time will tell. However, I do like the thought that if I do write them in the future I won’t have to do the ‘I think I’m gay… what will people think!’ internal monologue.
*mutters* Romance is hard enough for me to write without worrying about that cliche. =.=